Category Archives: French

Merriam-Webster: Words of the Year 2014

Merriam-Webster recently announced top 10 words of the years of 2014 based on look ups frequency in their online dictionary. So this list is data driven (they are using look up frequency and also have temporal distribution of it across the year) and It’s quite interest to see how spikes in interest to certain words are correlate with real world events. It’s interesting to see that French expression “Je ne sais quoi” (“a pleasant quality that is hard to describe”) made its way into this list (guess what made people wondering about this phrase 🙂 ). I can not help but notice that modern technology makes life of modern lexicographers, dictionary editors and comparative linguist much more easier and unbelievable well equipped for their tasks by contrast with such pioneers of that field as James Murray – for those all luxuries of technology were unavailable (though while working on OED James Murray was already employing crowd sourcing techniques using newspaper adverts and postal service).

Here is video of Peter Sokolowski Merriam-Webster’s editor at large talking about Merriam-Webster top 10 Word of the Year look-ups for 2014:


You may also read about these 10 words on Merriam-Webster web site. Top 10 words are following: Culture, Nostalgia, Insidious, Legacy, Feminism, Je ne sais quoi, Innovation, Surreptitious, Autonomy, Morbidity.

\nReally interesting to see how real world events influence the look up frequency for certain words.

How to say “Ни к селу, ни к городу” in French? :)

Today looking for a word “село” in French (it’s village, but for some reason in Russian we have two distinctive words “село” and “деревня” whereas both English and French translates these as “village”) I stumbled upon rough equivalent of Russian idiom “Ни к селу, не к городу” in French. In Russian this idiom, which can be roughly translated as “Neither for village, nor for the city”, is used in situations when something is completely incompatible with something, like piece of clothing, suggestion or utterance, it refers to such things, often unexpected and not coherent with the situation. So it looks like in French in similar situations you may say: “de but en blanc” or “sans rime ni raison” (rough translation is “without rhyme or reason”).

French Vocabulary: Interieur de la maison

 Interieur de la maison

Dans l’entrée – In the hall/lobby

meuble à chaussures – shoe rack (I was a bit confused when finding precise English equivalent, see my question on for details)

portemanteau [pɔʀt(ə)mɑ̃to] – hall-stand

Dans la salle de séjour – In the living room

buffet [byfɛ] –  sideboard

canapé [kanape] – divan, sofa, couch; settee; well if you are interested there is even the word “chesterfield” which can be used to refer to long soft couch/sofa (replace the latter with “davenport” if you prefer American blend of English 🙂 ) – see more on etymology of “chesterfield” here, seems to be just a marketing trick of manufacturer which made it’s way into dictionaries

chaise [ʃɛz] – chair

cheminée [ʃ(ə)mine] – fireplace / open fire / chimney

coussin [kusɛ̃] – cushion (small one which you may see on divan, compare with pillow)

étagère [etaʒɛʀ] – bookshelf / rack; also whatnot (small set of open shelves for knick-knack/trinkets)

fauteuil [fotœj] – armchair; there is nice range of French idioms involving this word, e.g.: “dans un fauteuil” which means “very easily, without effort”, “arriver (comme) dans un fauteuil” meaning “to arrive first, leaving others far behind”

table [tabl] – table

table basse – coffee table

YouTube Video French Lesson 87 – Living Room – Le salon La salle de séjour – Furniture Household Vocabulary:


Dans la chamre – In the bedroom

armoire [aʀmwaʀ] – wardrobe; also: armoire à linge, armoire-penderie

commode [kɔmɔd] bureau/dresser (with mirror); chest of drawers. In french this is also an adjective meaning “convenient”. When looking for English translation you may also bump into Wellington chest of drawers or simply Wellington chest which is a piece of campaign furniture (furniture specifically made to breakdown or fold for ease of travel) named after 1st Duke of Wellington, or to put it simply just a narrow commode.

tiroir [tiʀwaʀ] – drawer

lampe [lɑ̃p] – lamp

lampe de chevet



table de chevet

table de toilette

Sur le lit – On the bed







taie  [tɛ] – pillow(-)case / pillow(-)slip

une taie d’oreiller

YouTube video “[Vocabulaire illustré] Le lit”:


Dans le bureau – In the study





Dans la quisine – In the kitchen


cuisinière électrique / à gaz



(four) micro-ondes

une plaque de cuisson [kɥisɔ̃] – hob (well didn’t know this English word before honestly, so this one is what called “варочная панель, варочная поверхность” in Russian, or if we employ the some definition here it means ” the top cooking surface on a kitchen stove”)



heter les ordures

réfrigérateur / frigo (fam.)

robinet d’eau chaude / froide

la vaisselle [vɛsɛl] – crockery; Probably we may argue if this stuff are part of house interior or not, and you may discard this as a major element of home interior but it belong to interior, right? Anyway you will definitely will need these words for many kitchen related topics.\nune assiette [asjɛt] – plate\nun couteau [kuto] – knife\nun fourchette [fuʀʃɛt] – fork\nune cuillère [kɥijɛʀ] – spoon\nune cuillère à soupe – tablespoon\nune cuillère à café – teaspoon; this is quite interesting: one and the same thing but for French this is “coffee” spoon, non tea spoon

YouTube video “French Lesson 82 – Kitchen – La cuisine – Furniture Crockery Utensils Appliances vocabulary”:


Dans le sall de bains – In the bathroom



drap de bain







YouTube video: French Lesson 83 – Bathroom – La salle de bain – Accessories Appliances Furniture Vocabulary”:


Décorer la maison – Decorate the house / other stuff 🙂

bibelot  [biblo] – knick-knack , trinket , charm

horloge [ɔʀlɔʒ] /pendule [pɑ̃dyl] – clock

Some related YouTube video:

Weekly French Words with Lya – Furniture


French Grammar: Pronoms Personnels – Pronoms COD

Les pronoms compléments d’objet direct (C.O.D.)

Observez ces phrases.\n\n Quel noms remplacent les pronoms soulignés?\n\nBon, Pierre, je dois te laisser.\n\nEt tu le connais, cet appart?\n\nTu as le numéro de téléphone de Clotilde? Je vais l’appeller ce soir.\n\nÀ qui ça sert?\n\nÀ remplacer un nom (animé ou non animé) complément d’objet direct:\n\nJ’aime Éric. > Je l’aime.\n\nJe n’aime pas Éric. > Je ne l’aime pas.\n



1re pers.

me (m’) / moi*


2e pers.

te (t’) / toi*


3e pers.



* Ave des verbes à l’impératif affirmatif.

Attention!\n\nLe C.O.D.  n’est jamais précéde d’une préposition.\n\nJe connais Gwenaëlle depuis longtemps. > Je la connais depuis longtemps.\n\nVous rencontrez les nouveaux clients à midi. > Vous les rencontrez à midi.\n\nLa place des pronoms C.O.D.\n\nRelisez les examples. Où place-t-on le C.O.D. quand le verbe est au présent? Où place-t-on le C.O.D. quand le verbe est à l’infinitif?\n\nObservez les phrases à l’imperatif affirmatif et négatif.\n\nÉcoute le dialogue. > Écoute-le. > Ne l’écoute pas.\n\nCorrigeons la dictée. > Corrigeons-la. > Ne la corrigeons pas.\n\nOuvrez les livres. > Ouvrez-les.  > Ne les ouvrez pas.\n\nOù se place le pronom dans chaque cas?\n\nMore Examples:\n\nElle connaît cet acteur. > Elle le connaît.\n\nJ’attends mes amis. > Je les attends.\n\nMadame Fournier cherche sa valise. > Madame Fournier la cherche.\n\nChristine ferme la porte. > Chistine la ferme.\n\nElle prend ses lunettes. > Elle les prend.\n\nLe touriste regarde le tableau. > Le touriste le regarde.\n\nLes élèves ouvrent les livres. > Les élèves les ouvrent.\n\nMon fils adore la neige. > Mon fils la adore.\n\nIl faut comprendre cette règle.  > If faut la comprendre.\n\nMa fille adore regarder la lune. > Ma fille adore la regarder.\n\nJe veux écouter cet opéra. > Je veux l’ecouter.\n\nElle ne peut pas mettre ces chaussures. > Elle ne peut pas les mettre.\n\nTu dois lire ces romans. > Elle dois les lire.\n\nElle va chercher son passeport[pɑspɔʀ] > Elle va le chercher.\n\nLe pâtissier aime servir les enfants. > Le pâtissier aime les servir.\n\nArticle/Pronom\n\nJe les vois. > les = pronom personnel\n\nJe vois les chats. > les = article défini\n\nRegarde le ciel! (article)\n\nElle le regarde. (pronom)\n\nIls la connaissent. (pronom)\n\nIls la connaissent. (pronom)\n\nJe la prends. (pronom)\n\nLes oiseaux chantent. (article)\n\nJe  les garde. (pronom)\n\nTu connais la femme de Guy. (article)\n\nTu la connais. (pronom)\n

Additional Links (YouTube videos)

French Lesson 102 – Direct Indirect Object Pronouns – Pronoms d’objet direct et indirect:


Learn French – Unit 4 – Lesson K – Les pronoms COD:

\n\n\ncod grammaire française, complément d’objet direct ou sujet | cycle 3, 6ème:\n\n

French vocabulary: Housing

Logement – Housing

Types d’habitation – Types of housing

appartement (m) – flat\n\ndeux-pieces (m) [døpjɛs] – two bedrooms flat\n\nduplex (m) – two storeys flat\n\nstudio (m) – one bedroom flat\n\nchalet (m) – small house in mountains\n\nchâteau (m) – castle\n\nHLM Habitation à Loyer Modéré (f/m) – council housing / block of flats\n\nimmeuble (m) – residential building\n\nmaison (f) – house\n\npalais [palɛ] (m) – palace\n

Un immeuble – Residential building/block of flats

en beton – made of concrete\n\nde brique – made of bricks\n\nascenseur – elevator\n\n    prendre l’ascenseur – use an elevator/take an elevator\n\nbalcon [balkɔ̃] – balcony\n\nboite aux lettres – mailbox\n\ncave [kav] (f)- cellar\n\nclé – key\n\n    fermer à clé – lock (on key)\n\ncloison [klwazɔ̃] (f) – partition between rooms\n\nclôture [klotyʀ] (f) – hedge/fence\n\nconcierge (m/f) / gardien/gardienne – consierge / guard\n\ncouloir (m) – corridor, passage\n\nentrée (f) – entrance, hall, anteroom, antechamber, lobby\n\nescalier (m) – stairs, staircase\n\n    dans l’escalier – on staircase\n\n    prendre l’escalier – take/use a stairs\n\n    descendre/montrer l’escalier – to descend/ascend a staircase\n\nfenêtre (f) – window\n\ngarage (m) – garage\n\ngrenier [gʀənje] (m) – attic\n\ninterphone (m) – intercom\n\njardin [ʒaʀdɛ̃] (m) – garden\n\nmarche (f) – step (of the stairs)/stair\n\nmur (m) – wall\n\npalier (m)  – stairwell\n\n    sur le palier – at the stairwell\n\npiscine (f) – swimming pool\n\npièce (f) – room\n\nplafond (m) (haut/bas) – ceiling (high/low)\n\nporte (f) – door\n\nrez-de-chaussée [ʀed(ə)ʃose] (m) – ground floor\n\npremier étage (m) – first floor\n\nserrure [seʀyʀ] (f) – key hole / lock\n\nsol (m) / plancher (m) – floor\n\nsonnette (f) – doorbell\n\nsou-sol (m) – basement\n\ntoit [twa] (m) – roof\n

Les pieces – Rooms

bureau (m) – office\n\nchambre (f) – bedroom\n\nchambre d’amis – guest room\n

chambre d’enfants – nursery / brattery (stumbled upon “brattery” in Lingvo dictionary when looking for translation of Russian word “детская” into English, this one absolutely irrelevant/outdated word to be found only in OED or really old texts, but if you are inclined to know more about it you may refer to my question about it at

cuisine [kɥizin] (f) – kitchen\n\ndébarras (m) – pantry, larder / stockroom, storeroom\n\nsalle à manger  – dining room\n\nsalle de bains – bathroom\n\nsalle de séjour – dining room and drawing-room; sitting-room; reception-room\n\nsalon (m) – drawing-room; sitting-room; reception-room\n\ntoilettes [twalɛt] (f, pl) W. -C. (m, pl) [vese]\n

Déménagement – Relocation/move

déménager – to move/relocate

emménager (dans) – move in (to)

prendre la crémaillère – have housewarming party

crémaillère – housewarming party

Vous êtes tous invités à ma crémaillère! – You’re all invited to my house-warming party!

Location, vente – Rent/lease, sell

location [lɔkasjɔ̃] – rent

vente [vɑ̃t] – sell

agence immobilière – an estate agency

caution [kosjɔ̃] (f) – deposit for rental flat

contract de location / bail (m) – lease contract

locataire [lɔkatɛʀ] / propriétaire [pʀɔpʀijetɛʀ]  tenant, lodger / landlord

location (f) d’un logement – property leasing / letting out

acheter / vendre une maison – buy / sell a house

louer (un appartement) – rent/lease (a flat)

payer le loyer [lwaje] – pay rent/rental fee, rental payment, rent-charge

Le loyer – Rental fee

bon marché [bɔmaʀʃe] / pas cher – cheap/inexpensive

cher [ʃɛʀ] – expensive/high

exagéré / exagéré [ɛgzaʒeʀe] – overpriced/exorbitant

modéré / modérée [mɔdeʀe] – moderate

La qualité du logement – Quality of housing

agréable [agʀeabl] | désagréable [dezagʀeabl] à vivre –  pleasant/unpleasant for living

ancien, ancienne [ɑ̃sjɛ̃, -jɛn] | moderne [mɔdɛʀn] (m/f) – ancient, old/modern

calme [kalm] (m/f) | bruyant, bruyante [bʀɥijɑ̃, -t] – calm, quiet / noisy

clair, claire / ensoleillé, ensoleillée [ɑ̃sɔleje] | sombre [sɔ̃bʀ] – light/sunny | dark, grim, gloomy, somber/sombre

en bon état | en mauvais état – in good | bad condition

humide [ymid] – humid

lugubre [lygybʀ] – grim, gloomy, somber/sombre

neuf, neuve | vieux, vielle – new | old

propre [pʀɔpʀ] | sale [sal] clean | dirty

rénové, rénovée | délabré, délabré [delɑbʀe] renewed / dilapidated

spacieux, spacieuse | minuscule – spacious | small, minuscule

vaste [vast]| étroit, étroite [etʀwa, -t] – huge / cramped

Formules essentielles

A l’agence immobiliere – At the estate agency

– Je voudrais louer [lwe] un deux-pièces. / Je cherche un deux-pièces à louer. – I would like to rent two bedrooms flat.

– Vide [vid] ou meublé [mœble]? – Furnished or unfurnished?

– C’est combien le loyer? / Le loyer est de combien? – How much is rent?

– Le loyer est de 500 (cinq cent) euros, (toutes) chatges comprises. – Rent is 500 euros, All charges included.

– Il fait quelle surface? – What is living space/floor space?

– Il fait 60 (soixante) mètres carrés. – 60 square meters.

– Quelle est la surface de cette pièce? – What is the floor space of this room?

 – Elle fait 30 (trente) m2 (mètres carrés). / Elle fait 5 mètres sur 6. – 30 square meters. It is 5 by 6

– Dans cette maison, il n’y a pas de travaux à faire. – There is no need to do a renovation In this house.

– Il y a une réparation a faire. / Il y a quelque chose a réparer. – There is some renovation/repair necessary.

Les fenêtres (l’appartement) donnent sur la cour. – Windows face to the yard/court.

La fênetre / l’appartement a vue sur la mer. – Window / flat with a sea view.

La cuisine est équipée / aménagée. [amenaʒe] – Kitchen is fully fitted.

Parler de son logement – To speak about your house

J’habite au premier étage. – I live on the first floor.

Ma chambre voit rarement [ʀɑʀmɑ̃] le soleil. – There is lack of sun light in my room.

J’habite une jolie maison. – I live in a beautiful house.

J’ai loue une jolie maison au bord de la mer. – I rent a beautiful house on the sea shore.

Je vais transformer cette petite pièce en débarras. – I will transform this small room into pantry/store room.

C’est un trou perdu! (fam.) – This is in the middle of nowhere.

Some related videos on YouTube: